Hundreds Of Hopkins Workers Go On Strike Over Wage Dispute

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Hundreds of Johns Hopkins employees won’t go back to work until the hospital agrees to raise their pay. Hopkins is one of the top hospitals in the country but its workers say they don’t even earn enough to live on.

Christie Ileto reports they’re striking around the clock.

Yvonne Brown says if her sign isn’t sending the message to Johns Hopkins Hospital, maybe divine intervention will.

“I want people to see our struggle, to see the truth,” Brown said.

Wednesday night’s prayer vigil is part of a three-day strike for higher wages for 2,000 union hospital employees, like maintenance workers and kitchen staff.

After 19 years at Hopkins–one of the nation’s top hospitals–Brown says she barely makes ends meet.

“I can’t afford to retire on $12.97 an hour with the bills that I have. I have to rob Peter to pay Paul,” she said.

The union is trying to negotiate at least $15 an hour for those who have 15 years or more at the hospital.

Med student Max Romano is frustrated for workers like Brown.

“It makes me angry because this is an incredible institution with an incredible amount of resources,” he said.

“As a hospital we have a finite pool of money,” said Bonnie Windsor, Hopkins Hospital.

Hospital officials say they’re trying to balance salaries while preserving jobs.

“I think we’re getting across to the public,” said Armeta Dixon, VP SEIU 1199. “As you can see by the proposals, it’s not getting across to Hopkins.”

Workers have been out since 6 a.m. pressing for an equitable solution, but what happens if one isn’t reached?

“That’s a decision we have to make at that point. Do we want to take what’s on the table or do we want to go back and struggle for more?” Dixon said.

Until then, employees toe the picket line as they enter day two.

Both sides say they expect to return to the negotiation table on Monday.

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